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Swiss firm gets Libyan funds seized

One of the firms forced to close its business in Libya as part of Tripoli’s economic measures against Switzerland, is suing Libya in the Geneva courts.

An exclusive report in the Geneva-based Le Temps newspaper on Wednesday says the small high tech firm, which wants to remain anonymous, has had SFr11.6 million ($10.7 million) of Libyan assets frozen by the courts pending a judgement.

The company, which was given 45 days to wind up its business and leave the country, is suing the Libyan government for about SFr7 million for unpaid bills and breach of contract, the newspaper says.

The money is being held in the branches of three foreign banks in Geneva, it adds.

The paper quotes the lawyer of the plaintiffs as saying that the only recourse open to companies who suffered as a result of the actions of the Libyan regime is to get official Libyan assets seized wherever they may be.

All Swiss businesses operating in Libya were forced to close as part of Tripoli’s retaliatory measures following the brief detention of Hannibal Gaddafi, one of the sons of the Libyan leader, and his wife in July 2008 on suspicion of mistreating two of their domestic staff.

Most of them have kept a low profile in the hope of reaching a negotiated agreement with the Libyan authorities.

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